The Ultimate Fighting Championship comes live and direct with UFC 146 out of the MGM Grand Garden Arena this Saturday night. The first ever all-heavyweight main card is stacked with some of the biggest names and hardest hitters that the division has to offer. “Big” Lavar Johnson (17-5) and “Skyscraper” Stefan Struve start up the heavyweight-ridden main card. Then, undefeated prospects Stipe Miocic (8-0) and Shane Del Rosario (11-0) are set to collide. “Pee Wee” Dave Herman (21-3) takes on crowd favorite “Big Country” Roy Nelson (16-7). Before “Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (9-1) sets out to defend his title against Frank Mir (16-5) in the card’s main event, the co-main will see former champion Cain Velasquez (9-1) take on a modern day Goliath in “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (16-3). With all the division being represented and paying attention to how the night ends, Velasquez and Silva have the perfect medium to re-establish their ground in the division as one of the most dangerous men among the heavyweights.
For those who don’t watch the UFC’s undercard fights, you don’t know what you’re missing. And for those that do, we often find that the prelims can be just as if not more entertaining bouts than those on the main card, and can provide valuable insight as to which fighters to keep an eye on in regards to potential future wave-makers in his respective weight division. “Panzer” Pascal Krauss (10-0) is one such fighter.
“Panzer”, a nickname meaning “tank” in his native German language, exemplifies exactly what Krauss has shown in his career – that he is a force to be reckoned with. The undefeated 25-year-old welterweight made his UFC debut at UFC 122 where he not only picked up his first win in the Zuffa promotion, he also earned “Fight of the Night” honors for his three-round war with fellow UFC newcomer “Scanno” Mark Scanlon (7-2). Krauss came into his UFC debut fight as the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship welterweight king toting an undefeated record with ten consecutive first- or second-round finishes, and looking to prove that he belonged in the world’s most prestigious MMA organization. Having shown a variety of skills against Scanlon and earning a fight bonus in his first effort, “Panzer” did not disappoint.
The Buckeye State of Ohio will get a heaping dosage of the explosive and fast paced bantamweight division of Bellator Fighting Championships tomorrow night as the Season 5 135lbs. Tournament goes under way. The smaller weight classes seem to never disappoint, and with the addition of the Bellator Featherweight Champion Joe Warren (7-1), who has chosen to descend the weight classes in attempt to become the first fighter in Bellator history to consecutively hold two titles, there are sure to be fireworks ahead. Warren will welcome Alexis Vila (8-0) to the Bellator cage in the main event; both competitors are becoming more bitter enemies the closer the fight gets. Returning fan favorite and former featherweight tournament contender Wilson Reis (12-3) steps in as a late replacement as he faces Shooto Brazil veteran Eduardo Dantas (5-2). Former WEC champion and submission ace “The Rage” Chase Beebe (18-5) will face the man who many felt defeated Warren in a catchweight bout earlier this year, “Loro” Marcos Galvao (9-5). Galvao is hungry to get his revenge on Warren but first he has to get past the dangerous Beebe. ”Wild” Ed West (14-5) returns to his old stomping ground against another Shooto Brazil veteran and one-time Bellator fighter “Betao” Luis Nogueira (11-1). Eight 135lb. fighters will enter the cage tomorrow night, but only four will move on to the semi-final round of the tournament.
The conclusion of the inaugural Bellator Summer Series went out with a bang at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut with the headlining bout and tournament final consisting of former Sengoku Featherweight Champion Marlon Sandro (19-3) against Season 2 Lightweight Tournament Champion and now featherweight juggernaut Pat Curran (15-4). Supporting the finale were two bouts both in the heavyweight divisions. Bellator Heavyweight Champion “The Polar Bear” Cole Konrad (8-0) took on UFC and Strikeforce knockout artist “The Headhunter” Paul Buentello (28-14) in a non-title super fight. Former UFC Heavyweight Champion “Suave” Ricco Rodriguez (47-12) put his 12-fight win streak on the line against the man often referred to as the “Kimbo Killer”, UFC and EliteXC veteran “The Silverback” Seth Petruzelli (14-6). The card was a solid display of entertaining mixed martial arts action just as fans have come to expect from Bellator.
On Sunday, August 14, the UFC made its Milwaukee, Wisconsin debut in spectacular fashion, courtesy of UFC on Versus 5: Lytle vs. Hardy. Although it took a while for the premier mixed martial arts promotion to finally land in the Badger State, I can assure you that the local MMA community has been abuzz about the prospect of a live UFC event for quite some time now. Especially with the surge in popularity of Duke Roufus’ gym Roufusport in Milwaukee and all the young talent it has brought forth – “Showtime” Anthony Pettis (13-2), “Dannyboy” Dan Downes (8-2), and “New Breed” Erik Koch (12-1) just to name a few – Milwaukee was ready for the UFC. Much to the delight of fans in in Milwaukee and worldwide, the UFC delivered in a big way with its most recent effort, bringing to the cage some of the best up-and-comers that the organization has to offer as well as some of its respected veterans, including a main event between British slugger “The Outlaw” Dan Hardy (23-10) and heavy-handed “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (31-18-5).
Two legends of MMA will collide in a long-awaited match-up this Saturday night in Hoffman Estates, Illinois as Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion ”Hendo” Dan Henderson (27-8) will meet “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-3) for the first and possibly last time in their respected careers. Strikeforce Women’s Welterweight Champion Marloes Coenen (17-4) will finally take on “Takedown” Miesha Tate (11-2) in the night’s co-main event. Former UFC contender “Semtex” Paul Daley (24-11-2) will face Big 12 wrestling champion “T-Wood” Tyron Woodley (10-0) and “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (16-8) will open the card against “Sponge” Tarec Saffiedine (10-2). Also on the card is former title challenger and Elite XC Middleweight Champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-7). Lawler has had mixed success within Strikeforce, with two bone-chilling knockout wins and three losses, the most recent being his title fight against champion “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (13-2). Lawler will face former US Army sniper and former title challenger Tim Kennedy (14-3) in a barn burner match-up that will likely lead one to another title shot against the man who defeated them both.
MMA fans disagree about many things. However, few will disagree that the most likely fighter to dethrone “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (21-2) in the welterweight division is former Elite XC and Strikeforce champion Jake Shields (26-4). Tonight at UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields fans will see the pair face off for the UFC Welterweight Championship after years of speculation from fans and pundits alike. This will be a interesting fight to watch as GSP has been known to best his opponents at their strengths especially when they are touted as the best in the division at what they do. In this case it would be Shields’ esteemed top position Jiu -Jitsu game. Although GSP is a black belt in BJJ and a great submission artist himself, few would doubt that in a submission grappling match Shields would have the edge. However, this is MMA and GSP’s planning comes into play backed with his ability to seamlessly blend the various facets of the game, a fact which more than just evens the playing field.
More is on the line than the UFC welterweight title tonight at UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields. The main event will be another chapter in an ages old philosophical debate akin to the combat sports version of the immovable object and the irresistible force. It is the answer to the question of who is the best fighter – the man with the longer winning streak and belts in multiple smaller promotions, or the man who has fought in the best promotion against arguably better opponents and defended his title multiple times? That answer will become glaringly apparent this evening when former top Elite XC welterweight and Strikeforce and Shooto Welterweight Champion Jake Shields (26-4) faces off against world renowned UFC Welterweight Champion “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (21-2).
Bellator Fighting Championships’ first outdoor event of its fourth season went off without a hitch last night in Luma, Arizona. In the arid 95 degree desert weather, a pair of superfights as well as both 135lbs. tournament semi-final match- ups took place at Bellator 41 to the delight of thousands of MMA fans. Bellator Featherweight Champion Joe Warren (6-1) took on Shooto and Ring of Combat veteran Marcos Galvão (9-3) in a catchweight affair at 137lbs., Bellator Bantamweight Champion “Fun Size” Zach Makovsky (13-2) went to war with the undefeated “Robo” Chad Robichaux (11-1) in a non-title bout in a pair of hard hitting crowd pleasers with both fights bringing the fans non-stop action. Wilson Reis (12-3) and “Pitbull” Patricio Freire (8-1) went at it for a second time in the featherweight semi-finals and Daniel Straus (16-2) squared off with “The Tooth Fairy” Kenny Foster (9-3) to open the main card on MTV2. Again, Bellator delivered on its promises for an action packed night of mixed martial arts and MMA Gospel is here to break that action down.
The Cocopath Resort and Casino will host Bellator Fighting Championships as it rolls into the copper state of Arizona for Bellator 41 tomorrow night. Two super fights take place on the card as Bellator Featherweight Champion Joe Warren (6-1) takes on Ring of Combat and Shooto veteran “Loro” Marcos Galvão (9-3) in a non-title bout and Bellator Bantamweight Champion “Fun Size” Zach Makovsky (12-2) faces undefeated “Robo” Chad Robichaux (11-0) who has submitted all of his opponents with the exception of just one. The resilient Daniel Straus (15-2) goes against hard nosed “The Tooth Fairy” Kenny Foster (9-2) and dangerous striker “Pitbull” Patricio Freire (7-1) rematches the first and only Elite XC Bantamweight Champion Wilson Reis (12-2) in the semi-finals of the Season 4 Featherweight Tournament to kick off the evening, with the winners moving on to the finals and vying for a chance to wrestle the title away from outspoken champ Joe Warren. The night undoubtedly has all the makings of a typically exciting Bellator card. Here, MMA Gospel takes a closer look at how the evening may pan out.
Oklahoma gets a second dose of Bellator Fighting Championships when the organization returns to the Sooner State for Bellator 40 tonight with a main event superfight between welterweight champion Ben Askren (7-0) and UFC, bodogFIGHT, Strikeforce, Sengoku, and Elite XC veteran “The Goat” Nick Thompson (38-12). Askren will have his hands full with this seasoned fighter, and Thompson is coming to fight for the 15 minutes that three of Askren’s four Bellator bouts have lasted. Opening the night for the champ will be the second pair of semi-final tournament bouts. Welterweight semi-finalists step in first as Brent Weedman (18-5) takes on former UFC and Strikeforce fighter and former IFL Welterweight Champion “The Thoroughbred” Jay Hieron (17-4) with the winner moving on to face undefeated Judo Olympian Rick Hawn (11-0) in the tournament finals. Then former semi-pro boxer and heavy handed striker Lloyd Woodard (11-0) takes on Strikeforce veteran and quick finisher Michael Chandler (6-0) in the lightweight semi-finals with the winner slated against ”Pitbull” Patricky Freire (3-0). Overall the night should promise another evening of excellent Bellator action for the fans.
The city of Uncasville will see Bellator Fighting Championships make its first stop in Connecticut tonight when the regional promotion turned national TV MMA sensation arrives for Bellator 39. Hosting the event is the Mohegan Sun and attending will be a house full of fans of the Northeast native and Bellator Lightweight Champion, Eddie Alvarez (19-2). Alvarez will defend his title for the first time against Season 2 winner and perennial underdog contender Pat Curran (12-3). After an injury during training early last year, Curran had to sit out and recover on the side lines while Alvarez continued his reign as the promotion’s best lightweight. Now after a full recovery and months back into his training, Curran is ready to challenge the champion and looks to upset yet another fighter with the title of champion being the prize.
Tomorrow night Bellator Fighting Championship kicks off yet another promising display of top MMA prospects for its fourth season with Bellator 37. Tearing the roof off the Lucky Star Casino in Concho, Oklahoma two hours earlier than normal at 7pm ET due to the UFC’s own offering tomorrow night during the same time block, Bellator brings fans a Season 4 Featherweight Tournament stacked with some of the world’s best talent at 145lbs. just aching to get their hands on reigning champion Joe Warren (6-1). Starting off the night is Daniel Straus (14-2), a competitor who hasn’t lost a fight since April 2009 when he succumbed to the fists of No. 1 lightweight contender Pat Curran (12-3), looking to spoil the Bellator debut of “Naza” Nazareno Malegarie (19-0) who himself aims to maintain his perfect record and take out the veteran Straus. “The Tooth Fairy” Kenny Foster (8-2) looks to follow up his successful September 2010 Bellator debut and punch his ticket into the semi-finals of the tournament at the expense of undefeated newcomer Eric Larkin (3-0). Two-time semi-finalist and fan beloved former Elite XC Bantamweight Champion Wilson Reis (11-2), known for his tough as nails fighting style, has a score to settle with fellow tournament competitor “Pitbull” Patricio Freire (6-1) but he first will have to get past the experienced IFL veteran Zac George (20-3), a viable threat to Reis’ hopes for redemption. In the main event of the evening, Bellator veteran and Russian import “Insane” Georgi Karakhanyan (15-2) takes on the relentless Minotauro Jiu-Jitsu black belt Patricio Freire. Karakhanyan looks to derail the dangerous submission expert and take one step closer to Warren, but Freire has the same goals as his adversary, which certainly will make for an impressive battle.
On Saturday night, Strikeforce returns to San Jose, California with its much anticipated Diaz vs. Cyborg card, putting two belts up for grabs. Welterweight Champion and Strikeforce golden boy “Diablo” Nick Diaz (22-8) takes on the dangerous Brazilian slugger “Cyborg” Evangelista Santos (17-13) who seems to have found his place at 170lbs. after his brutal KO win over DREAM Welterweight Champion “The Whitemare” Marius Zaromskis (13-4) last June. Also on the main card, former NFL great Herschel Walker (1-0) makes his return to the cage against WEC veteran Scott Carson (4-1), as does undefeated Roger Gracie (3-0) against UFC washout Trevor Prangley (22-6-1). The middleweight title is also on the line as current champion “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (12-2) the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace takes on the American brawler “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-6) in an old school style clash that is sure to have the fans on their feet. Lawler comes in off a vicious highlight reel knockout of “The Law” Matt Lindland (22-8) in early December and looks to string together two wins for the first time since 2007. The champ “Jacare” looks to use his ground game to put away the brawler and continue his undefeated streak under the Strikeforce banner.
The Ultimate Fighter 12 alum and Alaska native “The Deadliest Catch” Cody McKenzie (12-0) is one of several up-and-coming stars and TUF stand-outs featured on this Saturday’s UFC Fight for the Troops 2 card. McKenzie faces UFC, PRIDE, Elite XC, and BoDogFIGHT veteran and founder of “Thug Jitsu” Yves Edwards (39-16-1) in one of two preliminary bouts featured on a Facebook live stream – those who “like” the UFC on the social networking site can access the live stream Saturday night.
McKenzie’s professional MMA career barely spans four years and already the lightweight has racked up a dozen consecutive victories as well as a successful stint on The Ultimate Fighter. Furthermore, his last nine fights were won by first round submission with McKenzie’s special brand of modified Guillotine Choke, now dubbed “The McKenzietine”. The TUF alum has spent an astonishingly short cumulative total of 24 minutes and 16 seconds in the cage throughout his entire career, finishing 11 of his 12 opponents in the first stanza and allowing just one to make it to almost the halfway point of the second.